Boss still in dark over January budget

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Speaking ahead of Saturday's visit of bottom-of-the-table Swansea, Benitez remained typically coy when asked about Newcastle's chances of strengthening their squad before the end of January's transfer deadline.

Hall told the Daily Star: "I'm just a fan now and like everyone else, I want to know what's happening".

Benitez had hoped to sign a player this week. "If I am waiting for players to come, and it is very hard to bring the players that you want, then you can not sell the players that are already playing and - more or less - doing well".

"But we do not want to sell anyone who will add value to the team and we can not loan players if we do not have options to replace them".

"We are talking with agents but can not push too much".

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'We are not thinking of selling players that are playing already. We have had some people asking but nothing serious and no offers on any of our players.

Lascelles has recovered from a groin injury which forced him off during the first half of the 3-1 FA Cup win over Luton last week in time for this afternoon's crucial clash at home to Swansea.

"We are working (on transfers) but there is no news at the moment". We need to strengthen certain positions. That might well limit Benitez's ability to make signings of his own this month, but the Magpies manager appears to have concluded that the risk of losing someone without being able to adequately replace them is too great.

"I think it is important we don't lose the game but still have the mentality we have to get three points". It is very hard to create chances against them. "No, it will be a massive game for them and a massive game for us". So if someone is coming and approaching us about them, then we have to consider that.

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